Hinske's homer carries Atlanta


CLEARWATER, Fla. --- Braves backup Eric Hinske hit a solo home run in the ninth inning off Ryan Madson and Atlanta beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-4 on Monday.


Madson will start the season as the Phillies' closer while Brad Lidge continues to rehab from offseason knee and elbow surgeries. Hinske connected on a 3-0 pitch.

"He tried to take something off, he slowed his whole body up and pretty much telegraphed it," pitching coach Rich Dubee said.

After a walk, Madson rebounded to strike out three batters to end the inning.

"He was dead today, just a little dead," Dubee said of Madson's effort.

Hinske singled in the seventh off Chad Durbin and Brooks Conrad hit a tying home run.

Philadelphia starter J.A. Happ capped his Florida exhibition schedule by reaching the 90-pitch plateau for the first time. He allowed two runs on three hits and struggled with his command, walking a spring-high five.

Happ's next appearance will come in an exhibition game in Philadelphia on Saturday against Pittsburgh. He has a 3.06 ERA in six starts.

"I made some good pitches, but they were ahead in the count and laying off them," Happ said. "They didn't have to swing the bat for a while, especially in the fourth inning. I have to be a little bit more aggressive I guess."

Happ finished strong. He retired the last three hitters he faced, including strikeouts of Troy Glaus and Martin Prado in the fifth inning.

The 27-year-old Happ, who was competing for a spot in the rotation last spring, is now eager to see if he can replicate his 2009 performance. Happ was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA and finished second in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.

"It's going to be a challenge to duplicate what I was able to do last year, but ... I'll just try to be as consistent as I can," Happ said.



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